African American Humor: The Best Black Comedy from Slavery to Today

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Overview

This collection of anecdotes, tales, jokes, toasts, rhymes, satire, riffs, poems, stand-up sketches, and snaps documents the evolution of African American humor over the past two centuries. It includes routines and writings from such luminaries as Bert Williams, Butterbeans & Susie, Stepin Fetchit, Moms Mabley, Ralph Ellison, Langston Hughes, Redd Foxx, Ishmael Reed, Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor, Martin Lawrence, and Chris Rock. This anthology includes classic stage routines, ...

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Overview

This collection of anecdotes, tales, jokes, toasts, rhymes, satire, riffs, poems, stand-up sketches, and snaps documents the evolution of African American humor over the past two centuries. It includes routines and writings from such luminaries as Bert Williams, Butterbeans & Susie, Stepin Fetchit, Moms Mabley, Ralph Ellison, Langston Hughes, Redd Foxx, Ishmael Reed, Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor, Martin Lawrence, and Chris Rock. This anthology includes classic stage routines, literary examples, and witty quotations presented in their entirety.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Mel Watkins has done for comedy what Alex Haley did for the family.” —Ishmael Reed

“Full of raucous mirth.” —American Legacy

Glenn Townes
There have not been many books that provide such a detailed history of the value of comedy in our lives.
Upscale
Fulton Sun Gazette
Watkins has assembled a timeless cast of African-Americans.
Ishmael Reed
Mel Watkins has done for comedy what Alex Haley did for the family.
American Legacy
Full of raucous mirth.
Publishers Weekly
"If I really want to scare the hell out of my white friends, I drive out to the suburb they live in and walk down their street slowly, carrying the real estate section of the New York Times." This bon mot from 1960s comedian Godfrey Cambridge (1933-1978) is among the many jokes, snaps, comedy sketches, satires and folk anecdotes gathered in African American Humor: The Best Black Comedy from Slavery to Today. Selected by editor and writer Mel Watkins (On the Real Side), the witticisms come from such luminaries as Zora Neale Hurston, Satchel Paige, Nipsey Russell, Richard Pryor, Damon Wayans and many others. () Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
Watkins (an author, he was an editor at the ) has compiled an anthology of Black humor that, perhaps inadvertently, reveals much about changes in American as well as Black society. The lengthy excerpts are printed with little prefatory material, though a historical introduction is provided for each chapter. An appendix contains a list of authors with short biographies. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556524318
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/1/2002
  • Series: The Library of Black America series
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 1,247,697
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Mel Watkins is a former editor for the New York Times Book Review and the author of On the Real Side and Dancing with Strangers. He lives in New York City.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2002

    Humor and History

    I recommend African American Humor: The Best Black Comedy from Slavery to Today to anyone interested in comedy and American history. The book is not only entertaining to read straight through or to browse through and enjoy the many anedotes and stories, but also offers a wonderful look at how African American humor reflects racial progress in America as well as how it developed and influenced our popular culture. Dick Gregory's introduction is great and Mel Watkin's comments on the history of the comedy is enlightening. But finally it's the tales, jokes,stories and witty quotes from famous African Americans like W.E.B. DuBois, Jack Johnson. Adam Clayton Powell Jr. and Malcom X, that make this such a delightful book. I found that I could turn to any page and find something to laugh or smile about.

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